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9 Things We Are Loving Right Now

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This week we’re sharing with you pics from our recent jobs and showing you what we’re loving now. We’ve picked 9 of our favourite things and had Taegan photograph how we’ve used them in our client’s homes. There’s definitely a softness emerging in residential  design. Traditional elements are becoming very popular and many of our clients are wanting their spaces to be soft and pretty. Read on to see 9 of our favourites.

 

1. Brass Hardware

This kitchen looks spectacular with brass hardware. After the highly polished brass of the 1980′s, we’ve stayed away from this metal, preferring polished or brushed chrome/nickel. Brass is back, but it’s softer and worn – more 1880′s style.

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2. Shaped Ceramic Tiles

Square and rectangular tiles are everywhere so we thought why not use a softer shaped ceramic tile. It lends just enough pretty to these fireplaces and balances their strong defined lines. Just in case you think this is for girls only, there’s been a lot of compliments from the guys too. Every room needs that perfect balance of masculine and feminine.

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3. Round Dining Tables

Tables aren’t just for eating on anymore. More of our clients are working from home and they like to work at the kitchen table. Round tables are just more inviting and easier to sit around. They work great in small spaces as there’s no sharp edges, so they look softer and more inviting. Unless it’s a huge space, we tend to recommend round pedestal tables. It’s fun to mix up the design styles like below. The traditional table and formal tufting gets a kick from the moulded plywood chair.

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4. Persian Rugs

It’s surprising how Persian rugs go with almost any decor. We put them in all styles of homes and they add a huge dose of warmth and interest.  Putting a Persian runner in the kitchen adds beautiful texture and pattern to play off all the hard surfaces. Plus these rugs don’t show the dirt as easily as you might think, because they have so much pattern. As for spills, the rugs are really durable and clean up with just a damp cloth.

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5. Pale Oak Paint Colour

Benjamin Moore’s Pale Oak OC-20 is a beautifully restrained colour. It has some presence, yet it’s soft and quiet. We love the way the wall colour quietly supports the beautiful draperies in this room below. Soft coloured furnishings are being added to make this a proper ladies sitting room.

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6. Wallpaper

If you haven’t looked at wallpaper in ages, you will be surprised at the sophistication of the patterns. Papering the dining room adds so much interest brings a softness. Below left, we painted out the oak wainscotting to a beautiful creamy white and did a large patterned paper above. We also love papering powder rooms, because in this room, anything goes. Really, how much time do you spend in there? It’s a room where you can go over the top. We used the floral pattern below in one of our client’s powder rooms and now it looks like a beautiful English garden.

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7. Chandeliers

The word chandelier is instantly synonymous with class. Throughout the ages, chandeliers have been as much about light as decoration. Below left, you can see how we have hung this one very close to the ceiling but still get a beautiful effect with the hanging crystals. The other photo shows how a tiny powder room gets instant glam with a chandelier. Instead of rewiring the room, we simply hung it from a cup hook in the ceiling.

 

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8. Antique and Vintage Items

No home is complete without something vintage. Whenever we go into a home we want to see the little treasures that get collected through the years. Usually our clients will say they don’t have anything special. As Debbie starts going through bookshelves and cupboards, we find all kinds of treasures that have meaning. This is what makes each home special and unique. Display your history with pride!

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9.  Florals

Flowers have burst into full bloom for interiors. It seems that for a long while everyone was avoiding chintz and floral motifs. Several years ago we started seeing large blooms show up in home decor. Now it seems we can’t get enough flowers. Below, we’ve done draperies for a formal living room, cushions in a family room, and a faux roman shade for a warm white kitchen. And there’s nothing like having a few fresh florals around the house. I’m even okay with artificial, as long as they’re good quality. One type of bloom per vase looks a little more realistic too.

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On the weekend we were downtown Calgary and they have the prettiest planters outside city hall. They’re faux of course, but it sure was cheery seeing the forsythia, pansies and primrose. I think I am going to do the planter outside my front door this week. Maybe add a few pussy willows too. It’s the little touches that make such a difference!

Call if you want help with your home. You can sign up below to receive our blog every Tuesday to your inbox. Have a happy week.


If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.

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Why Using Classic Elements is so Important

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Whenever we do a kitchen reno, we try to give our clients a design that will last for many years. We stay away from any finishes that are too trendy, because that will really date the kitchen. Same with bathrooms. Renovations are a lot of work, inconvenience and expense. Our job is to make sure it looks great for more than a few years. And we never want anyone to be able to say, ‘that kitchen was done in 2014-2015′ because of a backsplash tile we chose.

Take a look at the kitchen below. It was designed by Tommy Smythe. It’s hard to tell exactly what year it was completed in.

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Believe it or not, this kitchen appeared in House and Home magazine in 2005. Ten years later, it’s still awesome. Tommy’s use of classic elements makes him one of my favourite designers. His work is timeless because it’s classic with a twist.

Notice how he uses a simple dark floor tile, but lays it in a herringbone pattern. The backsplash is a classic Carrera marble. The overhead light is an exaggerated lantern. Strong, pleasing elements, that never look tired.

It’s easy to get caught up in trends. When everybody’s gushing about the latest trend in flooring, or tile, or counter tops, think long and hard about choosing that finish. It’s always best to go classic.

I like to collect pictures for inspiration boards that feature classic design. The game is, are these interiors new or from years ago? Good design should last…and whether 10, 40 or 100 years old, the inspiration pics below show beautiful design.

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I hope these pictures inspire you not to go chasing trends, but to look to the past for inspiration. Use classic elements for design that will last. Of course you can shake it up a little – throw in a twist for fun. Life’s too short not to have some fun!

As a tip of the hat to St. Paddy’s Day, next week we’ll be taking a look at the colour green. Have a great week.


If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.

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Why Graffiti is Important and How to use it in Your Home

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Art or defacement? There’s a fine line that divides the art world on this topic. Some see graffiti as the most powerful art movement as it gives insight to what’s happening on the street. Others see it as vandalism, which I guess you might if it’s your fence or garage that was tagged. The interesting thing about graffiti is that this art form has existed since ancient times. In the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, the very first example of graffetti is an advertisement for prostitution. It shows a heart with footprints and a number. Graffiti has always been associated with a subculture that rebels against authority. Many have used graffiti to push a political and social agenda. It’s only been in the last 20 years that graffiti has moved more mainstream and become more legit through hip hop culture and mass media commercialization. 

We’re seeing graffiti and street art infiltrating fashion and interior design. Street artists, or vandals, depending on your point of view, are turning their hand to illustration and design and their work is showing up in the most unusual places.

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Pamela Bell, ex Kate Spade partner, didn’t want to create a Manhatten ‘trophy home’ so she invited her daughter’s 7th grade class to graffiti her muslin sofa with fabric markers. It works because of its imperfections. It’s engaging because of its flaws. And it certainly can’t be reproduced. It’s not the look for everyone, but it plays nicely off the Persian rugs and the traditional piano.

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If you want to bring a little of the street scene to your decor, it’s becoming easier as this trend gains respectability.

Ames Tile has come up with a line called ‘Word Up’ that incorporates graffiti and street art. We did interior walls of a creative office using this tile for an edgy look. http://www.amestile.com/wordup

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Timorous Beasties is a fabric and wallpaper manufacturing company based in Glasgow.  They are known for their edgy take on toile de Jouy fabrics of Napoleonic France. Their designs display a chic irreverence that resonates with those that appreciate classic design with a kick.  http://www.timorousbeasties.com

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Photographer Chris Vanderwees makes street photography in Toronto. He has a doctorate in English Literature, is an adjunct professor in the School of Liberal Arts & Sciences at George Brown College, has published many academic papers, yet takes to the streets to find what’s real. http://chrisvanderwees.tumblr.com 

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Calgary’s own David Brunning – TheKidBelo - is best known for his graffiti art and abstract work. One of the goals of David’s work is to influence the public perception of graffiti art. He wants people to take another look at an art form that is sometimes dismissed. http://www.thesweatlab.com http://thekidbelo.com

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Many restaurants are embracing the graffiti/street art scene in their decor. It creates a laid back vibe that speaks of youth and rebellion.  It’s fun, large and messy. It’s impertinence means that you can’t take it too seriously.

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Even Calgary’s own restaurant scene is exploring this design movement. Market, located on 17th Avenue in Calgary, is known for it’s fresh ingredients and unique decor. Above the bar is chalk paint and sketches of just about anything. Even the bathroom doors carry on this theme. http://marketcalgary.ca

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Una Pizza+ Wine is a great little spot for pizza. We like that they feature different local artists on their largest wall. http://www.unapizzeria.com

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The legitimization of graffiti art is evident in the places it’s popping up. From ancient civilizations to modern times, graffiti has been the  art of youth. If you want to bring an edginess to your decor, this is a surefire way to do it.

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So what do you think of the graffiti trend in home decor? Even if  big bold graffiti’s not your thing, it’s fun to try something new. How about a little cushion with some doodling on it? It’s wonderful thing to be open to new ideas.

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Have a great week.

If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.

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The New York Design Scene…through the eyes of Taegan

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New York has long been the mecca of all things fashionable. Our Junior Designer, Taegan,  spent the last week being inspired by everything New York.  With  her keen design eye, she photographed her way through the city. The great thing about New York is that creativity breeds creativity. There’s inspiration around every corner. It’s fast paced and busy, and there’s no end to the possibilities.

Below are a few of Taegan’s images and her thoughts from this trip. New York may be loud and crowded and busy, but there’s no other city like it in the world. In New York, anything is possible.

 

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First stop whas the Museum of Modern Art. There’s a huge variety of work, but my all time fav is the Henri Marie Raymond De Toulouse-Lautrec, which you can see a close up of in the bottom right corner above.

 

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Above is a piece I had never seen before even when studying the artist and was the one piece I remembered the most days after leaving the MOMA. It is called ‘The Park’ 1910 – Gustav Klimt. He is most famously known for ‘The Kiss’.

 

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The art director of GQ is an ACAD graduate and welcomed all 33 of us to tour the head office that was located in the new world trade centre (World Trade Center 1).

 

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Here are the stairs up to the cafeteria at GQ. Gorgeous.

 

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BBDO is an advertising agency in NY …. probably best known for the ‘ You’re not yourself when you’re hungry’ campaign for Snickers. This was by far my fav experience. Multiple floors of various departments that all come together. Top level was the cafeteria with this signage (below) on the wall. Walk a couple steps forward to find a ping pong table, wii, and a secret bar that opens everyday after 5 o’clock.

 

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One day I walked to a yoga studio called Strala Yoga that I have been wanting to go to since I started practicing. When my interest for yoga first sparked, I would watch the owner of this studio, Tara Stiles’, free yoga videos on Youtube. Since then, my own yoga practice has grown and so has hers. She has written  a couple of great books including, Yoga Cures and Make Your Own Rules Diet.  

 

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This is a pic of a bar we went to in Brooklyn with a very industrial look. They had table games like Jenga for everyone to play. Love the copper sink with the shower-like faucets.  

 

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I am in love with the ABC Carpet and Home stores. There’s 6 floors full of extravagant unique wares. It’s really something to see. Such a magical place full of beautiful home design pieces.

 

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The Design Within Reach stores feature mid-century pieces, as well as cool items designed for  today. There  were several around, and each one was interesting to walk into for inspiration.

 

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My time in New York was unforgettable, intense, magical and utterly addictive. The energy of the city inspired me more than any other place I’ve been. Hope you’ve enjoyed a peek into my week.
 

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Our office is buzzing with talk of New York, stories of Taegan’s trip and a high enthusiasm level for all things design related. We’re all feeling that New York energy bouncing off our Taegan.

Tell us your favourite New York moments – we’d love to hear.

**Note- Top and bottom city scenes were taken by another local designer named Abrie Miller, you can view more of her work at abriennemiller.com.

 

If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.

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9 Fun Ways to Use Wallpaper

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If you’re afraid  that wallpaper is just too trendy, don’t be. Since the middle ages people have been covering their walls. Originally tapestries were hung to help keep in heat. That set off a trend for decorated walls that hasn’t stopped.

There are so many great designs available that it’s hard to choose only one pattern. That’s okay – there’s lots of interesting places that can be papered. We’re going to show you some great wallpaper patterns along with some creative ways to use wallpaper in your home.

1. Do a Feature Wall

One wall in a room will really make a statement. And if you’re doing only one wall, go really bold and strong. For added interest, do one wall in a room and then one small wall of an adjoining room in the same paper.

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2. Use Wallpaper to bring in a Texture

Sometimes you need to touch the wall to know if it’s paper or the real deal. That’s how good today’s wallpapers are. Always wanted a concrete wall, or reclaimed wood or raw silk? You can have the look with wallpaper.

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3. Powder Rooms are Crying out to be Papered

A little shy to try out some paper? Start with the powder room. These small rooms can pack a big look when done in a fun paper. And just because it’s a small room doesn’t mean you can’t go big. Actually, the room will look better with a larger scale paper. Go wild, after all, nobody stays in this room too long.

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4. Wallpaper the Fireplace

Not sure what to finish the fireplace in? Consider wallpaper! There are times when stone or brick just isn’t the right choice. Wallpaper let’s you go for a one-of-a-kind look.

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5. Use Wallpaper in Place of a Headboard

A bed just can’t float in a room, so we automatically think headboard. Be a little different and use a fab wallpaper. If the space is large, try a mural wallpaper – it’s a showstopper. If you are a headboard person, pick a paper that co-ordinates.

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6. Don’t forget to Paper the Ceiling

So often the ceiling of our homes is overlooked. Think of it as the fifth wall. Look up – surprise – there’s wallpaper on the ceiling. It’s a beautiful way to add interest and tie a room together. Subtle or bold, it really warms up a space.

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7. Paint over Textured Wallpaper

Feel a room needs a little something but not a whole lot? Paintable textured wallpaper is a great alternative. It adds pattern and texture which can do so much for a room.

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8. Use it to Brighten up Furniture

Why limit wallpaper to just the walls. Using it on furniture makes a lovely statement. Inside or out, it’s a great way to use up left over bits.

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9. Frame Wallpaper and Use it as Art

Today’s wallpapers are like art – so go ahead and frame it! A cheap and cheerful touch that looks really high end.

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We love wallpaper – and if you haven’t checked it out since the days of ducks wearing heart-shaped wreaths, you’re in for a surprise. January is a great month to add some wallpaper pizzaz. Happy papering!!

If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.

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2015 Un-Trendy List…10 ways to have classic decor

Good Housekeeping
Good Housekeeping
Every year at the end of December, all the magazines come out with the style lists for the new year. The lists of all the things that we need to have in order to fit in – the must have clothes, shoes, paint colours, furniture and hairstyles. It’s the ultimate list of what’s going to be hot for 2015. We prefer to stay away from fads and trendy items. These are the items that can be too easily dated – you know the saying…’that’s so 2014!’
At Karen Fron Interior Design, we LIKE to be stylish. We WANT the homes that we do be unique and interesting, but they need to stand the test of time. We like the quote by Coco Chanel,
 ‘Fashion changes but style endures’.
We have found that there are certain things that make a home beautiful, cozy and happy. And basically it has little to do with the latest fad colour or newest style of chair. It’s more about the feel of a space, and how it makes us feel. After all,  Good Design is not just what looks good, it also needs to perform, convert, astonish and fulfill its purpose.
So we present to you our 2015 Un-Trendy List…how to decorate so it lasts.

#1. Function and Comfort are Most Important 

Set up your space for the way you use it now. Make it as comfortable as possible. Ensure that there are lights where they are needed, little tables to hold drinks, footstools for tired feet. No matter how stylish a home, it will never feel good if it isn’t cozy and comfortable. We all know that older neighbour or aunt who hasn’t redecorated in 30 years, yet hers is the home you can stay in for hours. It’s welcoming, comfortable and pleasing. So lovely in fact, that the avocado coloured appliances don’t even make you blink.

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 #2. Style of Home Must Suit the Locale

If you live in the mountains, then a lodge look is appropriate. Just like if you live near the ocean, then your home can look beachy. Decorating in a theme that is not relevant is never a good idea. It always looks out of place and contrived. Timeless design always looks easy and doesn’t have that “I-tried-too-hard” look.

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#3. Natural Light is important – have lots of windows

It’s so important to have natural light in a home. There’s nothing worse then having to keep lights on during the day because rooms are so dark. If you are building, make sure you have as many windows as possible. When buying, take note of the amount of natural light, or you’ll forever be decorating to overcome the lack of light. Like moths, human beings are drawn to light. Ours just needs to be natural.

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#4. Hardwood Flooring – A Timeless Choice

Wooden flooring has been used throughout history, first appearing as rough hewn planks and then graduating to elegant polished floors, often inlaid with handcrafted designs. Today there are so many types of wooden floors to choose from, and you really can’t go wrong with any wood you choose. For the Un-Trendy list, we recommend staying in the 3-5 inch size and staying away from trendy stain colours. 

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#5. Marble – A Classic Stone

For thousands of years, marble has been used in architecture. From the richly coloured red floor of the Basilica of Saint Peter’s in Rome, to the walls of the Palace of Versailles, to the elaborately designed nave of England’s Salisbury Cathedral, marble can still take our breath away. And because of it’s ability for refinement, marble has been the favoured medium of choice for some of the world’s best sculptors. Having marble counters, backsplash or floor tile in your home is an affordable luxury that is steeped in history. Any material that’s been around for thousands of years can be called a true classic and makes our Un-Trendy List.

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#6.  Fireplace – The Allure of Fire

Historically fireplaces were used for the practical purposes of heating, cooking, and warming water for laundry and domestic uses. Today we love everything about fireplaces: the warmth, the beauty of its flames, and the cozy feeling it brings. It’s a visible and tangible source of comfort to us. A sitting room with a fireplace offers comfort and creates an inviting experience. We recommend having a fireplace in your living room. From wood burning, to gas, to electric and now gel-fuel fireplaces, there’s an option for every room. 

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#7. Original Art – Personalize your Space

Original art personalizes and humanizes the buildings that we live and work in. There’s a certain energy that a piece of art gives off.  When viewing a work of art, we are able to share with the artist their deep emotion that allowed them to create their piece.

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Whether it’s a master’s painting hanging in the Louvre, or a simple drawing done by a child, it’s a one-of-a-kind piece and that makes it special. Number 7 on our Un-Trend List is to surround yourself with original works of art. Photographs, painting, woodworking, weaving, pottery…any type of art that speaks to you.

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#8.  Personal Items – Tell Your Story

It’s important to surround yourself with items that have meaning. It’s also important to display these items in a way that is pleasing and aesthetically beautiful. Each item should be placed with care and with attention to detail. The styling of room is not always easy. It takes time to collect items that are meaningful and it takes a flair to display them properly. Sometimes it is wise to hire a professional to attend to these details. I like to follow the words of William Morris,

‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.’

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#9. Balance – The Most Important Principle of Design

There are seven principles of interior design and while all of them are important, I would place balance as the most important. If a room doesn’t feel balanced, it just doesn’t feel good. Balance is the equal distribution of weight in a room. There are three types of balance, symmetrical, asymmetrical and radial. Symmetrical balance is usually found in traditional interiors and one side mirrors the other,  asymmetrical is often employed today in interiors and relates very strongly to the visual weight of objects, radial is when all elements of design are arrayed around a central point, like a spiral staircase. Whichever form you employ, it’s important to have balance to make a space feel right.

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#10. The Wow Factor – What Makes your Space Unique

Whenever we do a room, we think about all the items in numbers 1-9. Then comes number 10 – the WOW Factor. That something extra that makes a room unique and special. And it can’t just be anything, it has to be something that is authentic for the people that live in the space. Think about your wow factor and what you can do to a room to make it just a little bit special. Maybe it’s as simple as painting the garden doors black when all window trims are white. Or maybe it’s layering rugs, or using wallpaper or hanging an oversize piece of art. Always ask yourself…what can be done to make this room unique.

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So now you have our Un-Trend List – and it’s good for years to come. If you follow these interior design principles and apply some basic human psychology, you will have a recipe for creating a home that has timeless appeal.

Wishing you a wonderful 2015 and a home full of love and laughter.


If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.

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Fabulous Fabrics…it’s all in the mix

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Getting a new box of crayons in my Christmas stocking was my very favourite present. Carefully I would open the lid, breathe in that new crayon smell and admire those 64 gorgeous colours. It would take me about a week before I was actually ready to use them. First I had to make colour combinations. I would put the purple beside the red (daring), line up all the different shades of green (monochromatic), and decide if I liked pink better with blue or orange. There were so many colour combinations and I loved them all. It’s no surprise that I gravitated toward interior design.

Working with fabrics is probably the favourite part of our job. There is something so satisfying about putting different colours and textures together. When it’s done well, it immediately elevates a room from nice to show-stopping.  Many times we’ve made a ho-hum room fabulous by loading up with exquisite  cushions.

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It’s not just the colour combination that’s important, it’s also the textures. Rooms need differing textures, but they still have to blend. It’s especially important when working with whites and creams. Think smooth, chunky, small pattern, stripe, herringbone and tweed.  It’s also important to have different shades of white, ivory and cream for an interesting look.

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When putting a room together, we like to add a pop of colour. A look isn’t complete until we throw in that something extra, that bit of colour that doesn’t necessarily match, but really stands out. Sometimes it’s hard for homeowners to be that bold. A few weeks ago, Debbie and I were at Homesense getting some Italian sheets for a client. As I was talking to Debbie, I could see her attention focusing on the basket of a fellow shopper. Trance-like, Debbie whispers, ‘I can’t let her do it, Karen. I can’t let her buy those cushions and lamps because they’re just so blah. They won’t look nice in her home.” So off she went to make a new friend and get a pop of colour in that shopping basket!

Lately we’ve been using different shades of red. Scarlet, raspberry, coral, burgundy and carmine are happy colours and can be added to most colour schemes. A little red goes a long way though, so be cautious. Red feature walls are never a good idea for a family home. They may look okay in a restaurant or office, but are really hard to live with.

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Most times a colour should be repeated at least three times in a room. Sometimes though it’s okay to just put one stand out pop of colour. In the photo above on the left, imagine how great a few toss cushions in pumpkin orange would look. It’s just that touch of  “I’m not trying too hard!”

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As much as we like colour and pattern, I don’t mind using great neutrals for large items. The chair below is done in a beautiful textured work horse fabric. It might seem a boring choice when you consider all the options, but that’s the beauty of it. The choice for cushions, throws, draperies and area rugs is wide open.

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Beautiful fabrics can cost a beautiful price, but we think it’s money well spent. The luxurious feel of quality fabrics really is worth it. However, not every fabric in a room has to be best quality. It’s that old trick of mixing low and high. A few high end pieces will make everything look great.

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Most of the fall fabric collections have come into the showrooms now. What impresses me the most is that there is so much variety. If there is one look, it seems to be an ‘anything goes’ attitude. Colours are warming up slightly, but there really is something for everyone. I’m hopeful that this trend of not being stuck on one look stays.

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I feel colour affects us so much, that we absolutely need to surround ourselves with fabrics that bring out the best in us. Think of beautiful fabrics as a tonic for the soul.

 


If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.

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European Influence – Herringbone Tile

We’ve been working on a design style for one of our clients this week. They are the most gracious, elegant and classic couple. We want their home to be a true reflection, so we’ve been researching timeless patterns for flooring, wallpaper and fabric. You know me…I love this history stuff…in great detail. However, I’ll condense my notes and give you the short version. Taegan took a bunch of pictures when she was in Europe, so you’ll get some pretty pictures too.

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In around 500 B.C. the Roman Empire developed an expansive road system called Viae Publicae which stretched for 50,000 miles. Considering all the advances in technology and construction, we still use their basic principals of interlocking patterns. Criss-crossing pavers absorb the compression of movement and become very strong and able to handle huge loads. In fabric, this pattern can be traced back to Egyptian textiles where again the use of criss-crossing threads made for a strong fabric. There are very early examples of native cultures employing zig-zag weaves to create strong waterproof baskets. So a beautiful pattern started as an effective design solution in many cultures.
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Which brings us to the types of criss-crossing patterns…chevron and herringbone. Chevron is a zig-zag pattern that comes to sharp point. Herringbone resembles a broken zig-zag, and the points do not come sharply together. They are both classic patterns, but I find that herringbone is a little softer, so I usually specify chevron for more modern applications.
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When picking the fixed elements of design, it’s important to know your history! While we all like to be current, don’t go all trendy on the big expensive stuff. Keep it basic and classic. Look to the past for inspiration and you can’t go wrong. Keep the fun trends to the top layer…and switch that out when it becomes so last year.

If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.

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Art Nouveau- the new and old

When I was in school studying Interior Design, we took a lot of courses about art history and furniture design. I loved these classes. My art history teacher would say that art tells the true story of the world. It’s a peek into the culture and the way civilizations before us lived.

When our Junior Designer, Taegan, went to Europe, she saw so many beautiful works of art, grand buildings and exquisite details everywhere, her camera couldn’t keep still. Maybe because in Calgary she’s been exposed to square box buildings and get- it-built-move-on-to-the-next-architecture, she was captivated by the Art Nouveau style.

Here’s a brief gallery of her Art Nouveau photos.

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Etsy
Etsy

If you’re an art history geek like me, you’ll want to read up on all the details of the Art Nouveau movement; how it incorporates the cycle of birth, decay and death, it’s subtle negative portrayal of women as menacing and scandalous, how Sigmund Freud influenced the style and how the Art Nouveau style reemerged in the late 1960′s with psychedelic artwork for rock concert posters and album covers.

If you’re more normal, and maybe just intrigued by the sensuous sweeping lines of the style, below are some modern day inspirations to work the style into your home.

 

Brennon Braud
Brennon Braud

 

artnouveau.soup.io
artnouveau.soup.io

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If you want to seem like a real expert on this style, just remember that Art Nouveau is known for it’s sweeping curves and flowing linear lines. And don’t confuse Art Deco with Art Nouveau…two separate decorative arts. Maybe a post for another day?


If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.

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Nail the details

Nail the details

Nailhead trim on furniture is hip and funky! Hard to believe that this detail is 400 years old. It looks modern and sexy, and is showing up in lots of new applications to create bold looks.

via graham and green

The use of nailhead trim dates back to the period of 1560-1643 with the rise of French Country Style during the reign of Louis XIII.

via hickory chair

Today nailheads are paired with contemporary fabrics and bold colours for a sophisticated look.

via hickory chair

Both upholstery and case goods are showing off their studs these days. The formal lines of the furniture can be outlined, but we are also seeing nailheads used to create bold artistic designs.

via Horchow

Many furniture manufacturers allow customization using nailheads. As well, nailhead trim can be added as a DIY project.

via lee industries
Whatever your choice, get some nailhead in your home. It’s like jewelry for your furniture!


If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.